Koh Kood – An Island Paradise Retreat
How many of you head to the islands, whether it be Thailand or anywhere in the world for that matter, simply because you desire solitude and tranquillity, only to discover when you arrive at your island of choice, that is jam packed with tourists?
There are those moments in our lives, that we simply do not wish to mingle or socialise with others; we simply wish to disappear and relax for a short break for some chill time. We are not talking complete isolation but a simple island where you can relax in the sun on a sandy beach, where there are others but any interaction between you and the other holidaymakers is minimal.
As a former resident of the UK, childhood vacations were often at holiday camps such as Butlins or Pontins and as we progress into early adulthood, we seek out sunshine in the likes of the crowded Benidorm or Ibiza package tours. Now there is nothing wrong with these venues as holiday destinations, other than they are usual crammed full of people, as families, couples and singles seek breaks in the warm sunshine or the ultimate party life.
We get to a certain age, where we prefer something a little less busy; something remote, where the only sound you will hear, is the waves washing ashore or the odd bird in the sky.
But where in Thailand could you find such a destination? There are of course numerous islands but most have become so popular, that the ferries are stacked full of people heading out to enjoy the beach activities. Of course there is nothing wrong with enjoying the jet skis, banana boat rides or parasailing. In fact, at some point, we will actually endeavour to visit such a venue but what if you just want some repose from the hectic world we live in?
Millions of people arrive at the airports of Thailand each year, with many heading to the capital Bangkok, whilst others are off to Phuket or Chiang Mai or even our very own city of Pattaya, which offers a vast choice of adult entertainment and family activities. The visitors head to the temples, jungle adventure trails, off road activities, zoos, beaches and whatever else is on their agenda during their allotted time here but one thing is guaranteed – you will always be encompassed by scores of others doing likewise.
So being a resident of Pattaya, you may wish to escape the flock of tourists who arrive to party and bring the city to life after dark or take over the beaches. But where oh where can you go to find a deserted beach? The answer lies to the south of Pattaya, close the Cambodian border on the idyllic Koh Kood or Koh Kut as it may appear or some maps. The island resides off the shore of Trat, just beyond the province of Chanthaburi. Here you will discover a completely different way of life in Thailand, polar opposites when comparing to it to Bangkok for example. It features rubber plantations, coconuts trees by the score, rainforests along with the odd fishing village and a small local population that never exceeds 2000 people.
Because of the isles remoteness, finding your way there takes a bit of effort. You could of course take the slow train journey and enjoy the scenic Thailand countryside or you can fly from Bangkok. Once you arrive at the small airfield at Trat, you will need to get one of the boat services to Koh Kood, that will take around an hour or more.
Trat itself is a province worth visiting and you may wish to extend your vacation to take in the ornate greenery along the country roads, adorned by sleepy villages, Buddhist temples and people earning a living from selling fruit and vegetables from the roadside. You can depart the mainland on a high speed ferry from Boonsiri or travel by one of the speedboat services, whichever takes your fancy.
Once there, you will of course require accommodation and there is a diverse choice available to you. There are a few luxury resorts and of course budget hotels or even smaller, more personalised offerings.
No matter where you elect to spend your sleeping time, you will discover that life here is very much laid back, with a leisurely unhurried life style on offer. Its a place where people go barefoot for much of the time, laze around on beaches or hammocks, find a deckchair and sunshade, watch the sunrise and set again, in perfect blissfulness.
You can swim in the clear unpolluted waters, lie in the shade with a cold drink, and read a book or find an area on the beach where you are alone and sit in silence as your brain switches off and relaxation becomes you.
In the evenings, it is like a setting from an movie as the creatures in the jungle begin their nightly chorus. Birds chirp, frogs emit their mating calls and the monkeys enjoy the cooler temperature as they frolic high above in the canopies.
But should you become bored with the solitude and peaceful regime of this sleepy island, you will find that there is actually plenty to amuse you, should you take the time to look around.
For instance there are splendid waterfalls, where you can swim in the cool waters. You may fancy having a go at scuba diving, canoeing, snorkelling or a trek through the jungle.
There are some excellent restaurants dotted around the island, many of which can be found in the resorts but they welcome everyone. You will discover relaxing bars and cafes, where you can partake of a cold beer or a coffee of your choice.
But Koh Kood is one of those places where you can get lost in its simplistic lifestyle. If you are fed up of the rat race, the hustle and bustle of the city, the madness on the roads, the neon lights and clubs, then this is most definitely the place to recharge your batteries.
Roads are few and far between, you will find it difficult to obtain an internet connection but the beaches are to die for.